'Sad but not mad': Raptors fans say #ThankYouKawhi amid reports of departure

Toronto Mayor John Tory thanked Kawhi Leonard on Saturday for his part in bringing the NBA championship to the city.

John Tory posted heartfelt video on Twitter, expressing gratitude on behalf of city

Mayor John Tory poses for a photo in Jurassic Park wearing a Raptors-themed jacket during the viewing party of Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 15. (John Tory/Twitter)

Mayor John Tory thanked Kawhi Leonard on Saturday for his part in bringing the NBA title to Toronto, amid reports that the superstar forward is leaving the Raptors for California. 

In a heartfelt video posted to Twitter, Tory said Leonard brought "excitement" and "inspiration" to the city and expressed his gratitude on behalf of Raptors fans across Toronto.

Less than a month after leading the Raptors to their first NBA title, Leonard is reportedly joining the Los Angeles Clippers. The California-born Leonard spent just one season with the Raps.

Frenzied speculation about what Leonard would do during the NBA's free agency period gripped basketball fans for the past week, with the hashtag #KawhiWatch dominating social media for days. 

Raps fan who spoke to CBC Toronto on Saturday afternoon had mixed feelings about Leonard's reported decision to leave behind the city that elevated him to deity-like status over the past year.

"I mean I just don't get it, why would you go to the Clippers when you could have a whole country behind you?" said Gabriel Edeoghon, who thought he was going to stay in Toronto.

"But I guess he just wanted to be home and nothing beats that, right?"

Julien Sicco said he's "sad but not mad.

"He came here and gave us a championship but I wish he had stayed."

Meanwhile, Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia spoke to CBC News Network about his own feeling's on Kawhi's departure:

Nav Bhatia was optimistic to the end, hoping Leonard would stay with the Toronto Raptors 6:09

Raptors fans learned late Friday that Leonard would not be the only star departing for another franchise.

Forward Danny Green revealed in a video posted to Instagram that he signed a two-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers.

"It's been a hell of a run, it's been a hell of a year. It's unfortunate for everybody and the city of Toronto and all Canada that we couldn't run it back" Green said.

In a follow-up post, Green thanked Raptors fans for their "love and support" over the last year.

"You are some of the greatest fans basketball has to offer."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.